Last updated: 26 August 2014

Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association
Conceptual Design for GCOOS: the Regional Coastal Ocean
Observing System (RCOOS) for the Gulf of Mexico

Version 1.2
1 April 2008


The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) Regional Association (GCOOS-RA) was formed on 25 January 2005 under the terms of a Memorandum of Agreement. It constitutes one of the eleven Regional Associations charged with building the national Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) in the coastal waters of the U.S. and its territories.

This document gives Version 1.2 of the Conceptual Design for the Regional Coastal Ocean Observing System (RCOOS) for the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. This Conceptual Design is an evolving document and will be amended as new information on user needs becomes available; it should be read as such.

The timeframe covered by this document is 5-10 years. The components planned for development during the first 3-5 years have realistic cost estimates. The components planned for the remainder of the period are best estimates at this time, but likely will change as the funding situation alters or priorities change.

Section 2 of this report introduces the priorities for GCOOS and describes the way these priorities were determined. It also ties the subsystems in the GCOOS design to products, beneficial uses, and the seven societal themes. Section 3 describes the subsystems now comprising the GCOOS Conceptual Design. Section 4 gives our rough estimates of the costs associated with the various components of the GCOOS. Note that the costs of supporting the Regional Association itself are included in these cost estimates because the RA provides the management structure for the GCOOS.


2.1   Determination of GCOOS priorities

Several mechanisms have been used to determine priorities for GCOOS. Since 2000, a number of dedicated scientists, engineers, state, and federal officials have been engaged in discussions on building the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System with a broad range of users and providers of coastal ocean measurements and products. Appendix A lists the Workshops and Meetings that have occurred to date; reports are available at the GCOOS web site. The workshops have been conducted for various stakeholder communities. The meetings have been conducted with the organizational bodies of the GCOOS-RA. Additionally, calls for priority projects have been issued through the GCOOS listserv and web site.

2.1.1 Stakeholder Workshops

The first workshops were held to explain the concept of the GCOOS and to motivate data providers to make their data sets available in real-time through the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC). The result was the establishment of the initial GCOOS measurement network, consisting mainly of currents, temperature, salinity, and/or meteorological measurements made by many different entities for many distinct purposes (Figure 2.1). Note: many of these subsystems do not have long term funding. Data management issues also were addressed. Follow-on workshops were held for coastal managers, the private sector, and academia to describe GCOOS and to obtain ideas on how to engage these sectors in building the GCOOS.

From the early workshops it became apparent that there were a number of focused stakeholder groups, each with its own special needs but each with needs in common with other stakeholder groups. So a series of workshops was begun in 2004 that targeted specific stakeholder communities. The objectives of these workshops are to identify with priorities the measurements and products need by the specific community, identify pilot projects that might further the development of the needed measurements or products, and obtain cost estimates as feasible.

Figure 2.1. Map of continuing observations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Observations are supported by many different entitites: private industry, state and federal government, and academic. Most of these observations transmit in near-real-time to NDBC.

Four focused stakeholder workshops have been held. One was for the Oil and Gas and Related Industry in November 2005; priority products and measurements are given in Tables B1 and B2 of Appendix B. Another workshop was held for emergency managers, responders, and others involved with storm surge and inundation; priority products and pilot projects are given in Tables B3 and B4 of Appendix B. Two workshops were held for the managers and scientists working on Harmful Algal Blooms. The first, held in April 2004, summarized activities to create HABs alerts and identified ocean measurements, models, and technology advances as areas for further development; priorities are given in Table B5 of Appendix B. The second, held in November 2007, was a document working session at which inputs to the HABs Integrated Observing System Plan were obtained; the first version of the HABs Integrated Observing System Plan is scheduled for completion in early 2008.

2.1.2 Future Focused Stakeholder Sector Workshops

GCOOS intends to hold in 2008 a workshop focused on determining from regional stakeholders in the marine transportation sector their priorities for data and products. Meanwhile, we have accepted the priorities for hydrographic services improvements recommended in the Federal Advisory Committee Special Report 2007 prepared by the Hydrographic Services Review Panel. These are given in Table B6 of Appendix B. Additional stakeholder sector workshops are planned for recreational boaters and urban developers/planners.

The fisheries sector is being engaged through presentations for and discussions with the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, and Southeast Fisheries Science Center. Knowledge of the programs of these groups will be used to plan for data sets, such as hydrography, that will become available as historical or delayed-mode data. The requirements of the US Coast Guard, particularly as relates to search and rescue, are being determined through meetings with the district offices.

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) is one of the stakeholder groups for the GCOOS-RA. Many of the active GCOOS-RA participants are also involved with GOMA priority issue teams. Priorities of these teams, given in the Governors’ Action Plan, are considered in the GCOOS priorities where applicable. GCOOS staff attend many of the GOMA meetings.

Search and Rescue (SAR) is a primary mission of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Of the tens of thousands of SAR calls for assistance that are received each year, 5-10% of the cases become complex SAR events that require extensive search planning. USCG has developed a SAR Optimal Planning System (SAROPS), which is the search planning and drift modeling system used by the USCG to find distressed mariners. Meteorological and oceanographic data are needed as input because the environmental conditions affect all aspects of the SAR operation. In our discussions with USCG personnel from Districts 7 and 8, we have obtained environmental data needs for SAR. GCOOS will base its preliminary priorities, given in Table B7 in Appendix B, on the needs discussed in a USCG paper on environmental data needs for SAROPS.

2.1.3 GCOOS-RA Board/Council/Committee Meetings

In January 2005, 88 people from many stakeholder sectors attended a meeting of stakeholders to review and ratify an initial governance structure and draft business plan for the GCOOS-RA. On 25 January the Memorandum of Agreement forming the GCOOS-RA came into effect. The organizational structure of the GCOOS-RA is shown in Figure 2.2. This structure provides for a broad range of inputs by the stakeholder communities because the membership of the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors, Councils, and Committees consists of people from many different stakeholder sectors of the private, governmental, and academic communities. So the advice given to the Board of Directors is a realistic representation of many different sectors. These groups contribute to the determination of priorities for the GCOOS.

The Stakeholder Council provides advice on priority stakeholder sectors to address and has identified several pilot projects they believe are needed for building the GCOOS. Based on this input, together with inputs from workshops, the Board of Directors selected several pilot projects for which prospecti would be developed and efforts made to obtain funding (Table B8 in Appendix B).

Priorities for Education and Outreach (E/O) were first identified at the formation workshop in November 2004 for E/O that set out the objectives for this effort in the development of the GCOOS. The results were incorporated into the governance structure with the formation of the Education and Outreach Council (EOC). At its two meetings the EOC prepared an Action Plan, and the EOC is now working on its Strategic Plan. It has a number of priority products identified for formal (K-16) and informal (e.g., museums, aquariums) education and outreach/extension to target audiences as well as the general public. The EOC held a joint meeting with the GOMA Environmental Education Network in June 2007, and the two groups are working together to achieve common goals more effectively.

The Observing System Committee, Products and Services Committee, and Data Management and Communications Committee have developed Action Plans, which include guidance for the evolution of the GCOOS. A key priority from these committees is to find ways to continue the existing measurement subsystems that do not have long term funding.

In addition to the workshops and meetings discussed above, the results of the workshops and meetings of other groups are being used to assess priorities for the Gulf of Mexico. These include results from the IOOS Public Health Workshop held in St. Petersburg, FL, in January 2006. These results are being used by the Standing GCOOS Public Health Task Force to determine priorities in this sector. One priority is a pilot to make beach water quality data available on line.

Figure 2.2. GCOOS Organizational Chart.

2.1.4 General Inputs from the Public

When funding opportunities become available, calls for suggestions are made to the GCOOS listserv, which is open to anyone who wishes to be on it, and the public via the GCOOS web site. Any suggestions received are reviewed by one or more of the GCOOS committees, and the suggestions and the committees’ recommendations on them are discussed by the Board of Directors. A selection is made based on how the suggested projects will provide data or products of high priority. Although not all ideas are selected, a number have resulted in the establishment of a working team to prepare a prospectus of the project.

2.2   Priority activities, their measurements and products, and their beneficial uses

The seven societal goals of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) are:

  1. Improve predictions of climate change and weather and their effects on coastal communities and the nation;
  2. Protect and restore healthy coastal ecosystems more effectively;
  3. Reduce public health risks;
  4. Enable the sustained use of ocean and coastal resources;
  5. Improve the safety and efficiency of maritime operations;
  6. Improve national and homeland security; and
  7. Mitigate the effects of natural hazards more effectively.

The stakeholders in the Gulf of Mexico have a number of high priority issues facing them in the coming years. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Harmful Algal Blooms that affect human and animal health
  • Hypoxia that affects animal health and human activities such as fishing
  • Extensive use of the coastal habitat by recreational boating, surfing, diving, beach going and other tourist activities that requires knowledge of surface currents and waves for human protection and search and rescue
  • Extensive urban development that will require knowledge of the currents, waves, and coastal flooding probabilities for sustainable development as well as knowledge of the vulnerabilities and monitoring of the affected coastal ecosystems so that mitigation measures can be implemented to protect important natural resources
  • Low lying coastal landscape that is vulnerable to storm surge and inundation in an area of the world frequented by hurricanes, tropical storms, and winter cyclones
  • An oil and gas industry that produces about 44% of the crude oil, 43% of the dry natural gas, and over 50% of the liquid natural gas of the U.S., but which is vulnerable to strong currents and hurricanes
  • Seven of the top 10 U.S. ports in terms of tonnage or cargo value, with two in the top global seven, and that require real-time knowledge of water depth and currents for safe passage through coastal waters
  • A fishing industry that yields 69% of the shrimp and 70% of the oyster catches in the U.S., as well as many fish varieties, and that requires healthy coastal ecosystems to prosper
  • The watersheds of 33 states drain into the Gulf from over 150 individual rivers, of which 20 are major river systems including the Mississippi River; this river discharge brings high nutrient loads, pollutants, and sediments into the coastal waters
  • Industrial activity, including shipping, in and near the coastal waters that could result in spills of pollutants that will need to be tracked effectively to improve opportunities for clean up and protection of ecosystems and beaches

Additionally, as extensive data sets become available, it is crucial that they be well integrated. This requires a regional data management program that can support data providers in their efforts to comply with DMAC standards and protocols and to attain interoperability.

The details of priorities identified to date by the focused stakeholder workshops are shown in Appendix B. These have been integrated into a set of priority activities that require measurements and information. Each activity addresses one or more of the seven societal goals and the issues identified above. Table 2.1 shows these activities, their products, and their beneficial uses. For each activity, Table 2.2 gives the associated measurements, needed R&D work, and E/O aspects.

Table 2.1.  Priority activities, products, and information for the GCOOS and their societal benefits. The IOOS societal goals addressed by each benefit are identified by number matching the list above.

Activities (sub-systems) Products and information Societal benefits (uses)
HF Radar System Surface wave spectra Boating safety 5
Prediction of beach erosion 4, 7
Surf and beach conditions 3, 4
  Surface current fields Search and rescue 3
Efficient marine transportation 5
Conditions for offshore operations 4, 5
Pollutant spill tracking 2, 3, 4
3-D Ocean Circulation Model Climatology Design of structures, 3, 4, 5
Assessment of climate variability 1
  Now- and forecasts of surface currents Protection of offshore structures and personnel 3, 4
Ship routing, fishing, recreational boating 3, 5
Search and rescue 3
Pollutant spill tracking 2, 3, 4
Forecasting HABs movement 2, 3
  Now- and forecasts of subsurface currents Design and protection of offshore structures 3, 4
Forecasting HABs movement 2, 3
Tracking of particulates (e.g., fish larvae, sediment) 2, 3, 4
  Temperature distributions Search and rescue 3
Use in wild and farmed living resources 2
  Salinity distributions Use in wild and farmed living resources 2
Predicting hypoxia 2, 3, 4
HAB Observing System Detection and forecasting of HAB movement Protection of farmed living resources 2, 3
Protection of human and animal health 3
  Beach and water conditions Protection of human health 3
Hypoxia Monitoring System Occurrence, size and severity of low oxygen Management of conditions responsible 2
Improved fishing 2
Autonomous Met. Measurements Improved estimates of wind conditions Safe offshore working conditions 3, 4
Improve safety for boating and fishing 3
  Improved hurricane forecasts Reduce loss of property and lives 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
Operations Center with Data Portal Enhanced knowledge of GCOOS Observations Use by information providers 1-7
Reliable data quality 1-7
  Open ability to assess data and products Use by information providers and users 1-7
Implement IOOS DMAC standards Standardized formats and protocols Improved data management and interoperability 1-7
Water Level Observing System Improved water levels in navigable areas Enhance safety/efficiency of transportation/boating 3, 5, 6
  Prediction and measures of inundation Enhanced resiliency to and mitigation of effects of inundation 2-7
Use in wild and farmed living resources 2
Increased/enhanced PORTS Measures of marine meteorological and ocean conditions in major ports Enhance safety and efficiency of marine transport 5
  Now- and forecasts on currents and water level Enhance safety and efficiency of marine transport 5
Advanced, deep-ocean station Environmental monitoring of ocean and atmosphere Detecting long-term variability 1
  Tests of technology Advanced measurement capability for the IOOS 1-7

Table 2.2  Priority activities, measurements, R&D needs, and E/O aspects.

Activities (sub-systems) Measurements Needed R&D Needs Initial E/O Aspects
HF Radar System Surface currents, Surface waves Techniques for integration of data from different radar systems and data assimilation into models Outreach displays for targeted user groups showing availability and use of data and products; Use data in informal educational kiosk exhibits at aquariums or similar venues
3-D Ocean Circulation Model Model output of 3-D currents, T, and S Refinements; Expansion to couple with biological models Outreach displays for targeted user groups showing availability and use of data and products
HAB Observing System 3-D currents; T, S, Dissolved oxygen, nutrients, HABs counts Improvements to HABs detection sensors; Development of new sensors for additional HABs Enhance existing and develop additional public education products to reflect new capabilities
Hypoxia Monitoring System Currents, T, S, Dissolved oxygen, nutrients Improved nutrient sensors for time series measurements Public education on hypoxia and its causes
Autonomous Met. Measurements Winds Develop self-contained sensor package for deployment on platforms Outreach to offshore operators on the merits of allowing instrumentation to be deployed on their platforms
Operations Center with Data Portal Uses measurements of other systems Development of the capabilities Outreach to user communities to assure the portal and center meet user needs
Implement IOOS DMAC standards Standardizes measurements of other systems Decisions on standards and protocols Outreach to data providers on DMAC standards and how to meet them
Water Level Observing System Onshore and offshore water levels   Outreach to users on new capabilities
Increased/enhanced PORTS Winds, pressure, currents, air and sea temperature, salinity   Outreach to users on new capabilities
Advanced, deep-ocean station Various environmental monitoring parameters for ocean and atmosphere Will be used to test new technology E/O activities likely to teach climate variability aspects to students and the public; Outreach to users on technology test capabilities


In this section we describe briefly the subsystems envisioned at this time as part of GCOOS. Planning for some of these subsystems is complete, while for others it is incomplete. Yet other subsystems not mentioned here are being considered but are not to the stage that they can be rationally discussed. Finally, we are aware that yet additional subsystems eventually will be needed to satisfy the requirements of our stakeholders for data and products.

The rationale for these subsystems is presented in Section 2 where we relate these activities with products, outcomes and societal benefits.

3.1   Descriptions of the subsystems

3.1.1 Observing Systems

One goal on which GCOOS is focused is the development of capacity to monitor the state of the surface Gulf of Mexico over the U.S. continental shelf. This entails several of our recommended subsystems, including HF Radar, sea level gauges, surface meteorological platforms, and integrated production of satellite data products. Brief descriptions of these subsystems are included in this document.

HF Radar Observing System for Surface Currents and Waves
We have submitted a proposal for support to (1) continue operations of the existing High Frequency Radar (HFR) network (four systems) in the GCOOS region; (2) develop a more complete understanding of quality control and quality assurance issues for different HFR systems and how to ensure interoperability between different HFR systems; and (3) develop for the Gulf a plan for choosing particular HFR station types, operating frequencies, locations, and infrastructure plans for each site. We already have a preliminary plan for an HFR network, and that is described briefly here.

We intend to expand our HRF network to include 36 sites around U.S. Gulf coast. Tentative locations are shown in Figure 3.1. As seen most will be 10-12 MHz units because 5 to 8 MHz systems may have too much diurnal variation and there is a USCG licensing issue around the 5 MHz band. We will use a combination of CODAR and Wellen Radars. The system will be build over a period of about six years.

Plans are to direct all data through the National Data Buoy Center. However, products will be served via the GCOOS Data Portal.

Figure 3.1.  Tentative locations for HF radars for the Gulf-wide HFR network.

Water Level Observing System for the Gulf of Mexico
Texas has a dense sea level data observing system, the Texas Coastal Ocean Observing System (TCOON). We wish to have the same density of sea level stations along the entire Gulf coast, which will require that we add about another 30 stations. The National Ocean Service now has a new structure that they believe may be resistant to severe storm surges.

TCOON is working on a plan to add 5 to 10 sea level and meteorological data collection stations along the Gulf of Mexico continental shelf on oil platforms. This plan requires logistical cooperation from the oil companies and their service contractors. The data from these stations will aid the National Weather Service and the Hurricane Center and will be used in network model forecasting of tropical storm surge.

System of Autonomous Meteorological Monitoring Packages
A proposal has been submitted to deploy multiple portable meteorological observation packages to provide real time data from oil industry production platforms located in data sparse regions of the Gulf. The projected benefits of this project will be to: improve hurricane and weather forecasts by the addition of new meteorological data; extend farther offshore the overall and climatological data bases of the National Climatic Data Center; and provide underlying data to answer questions regarding hurricane intensification and the strength of mesoscale vortices and downdrafts.

The first stages are to assemble, integrate, install , and test pilot measurement systems. They must be autonomous so that they will continue to operate even when platforms are shut down and evacuated during severe storms. They must meet strenuous safety standards imposed by the industry for all equipment on their platforms. Oil industry partners have agreed to allow this instrumentation on their platforms. Data will be transmitted via satellite to the NDBC, which has agreed to accept the data sets for quality control and further distribution.

Once evaluations are complete, we envision installing about seven units for an initial trial period of about one year. Then, perhaps after some refinement, we would deploy additional units to bring the total up to twenty.

Development of a deep-ocean, advanced capability sentinel station
Envisioned is a moored station with a measurement suite capable of characterizing the environment from the sea floor to the troposphere (-3000 m to +3000 m). It would serve both as a sentinel station in the U.S. EEZ as well as a test bed for advanced technology. Technology development is needed for future enhancements to the GCOOS.

Hypoxia Monitoring System for the Gulf
NOAA is leading an effort to prepare a plan for an integrated hypoxia observing system for the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, several research efforts are underway to study the mechanisms responsible for hypoxia, its temporal and spatial scales, and its occurrences. These should be supplemented with additional observations, both moored stations and ship-borne surveys.

A successful monitoring program must be designed with knowledge of the dominant spatial and temporal scales of the phenomena of interest. Because of the wide range of temporal and spatial scales of processes that influence hypoxia on the shelf, a cost-effective monitoring system must use a combination of moored systems, to provide necessary temporal resolution, and shipboard monitoring, to provide necessary spatial coverage. New technologies such as gliders should also be included in the design. The proposed monitoring system should continue existing monitoring efforts of the region to extend time-series and statistically establish long-term trends (see Figure 3.2). A mooring program should be phased in over multiple years and span the entire hypoxic zone from the Southwest Pass delta to the Texas-Louisiana border. At a minimum, the systems should report in real-time and measure conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen and nitrate concentration above and below the pycnocline and profiling current meters. Additional measurements of meteorological parameters, near-surface fluorescence, near-bottom dissolved oxygen concentration, pH, turbidity, and fluorescence are also recommended. The monitoring cruise plan builds upon the groundwork begun with previous efforts by extending the previous time-series and establishing additional repeated lines. The full shelf survey done previously in August should be continued adding time for along-shelf stations and continuing westward into Texas coastal waters. Monthly and bimonthly cross-shelf transects should be conducted and additional bi-monthly transects performed.

Harmful Algal Bloom Integrated Observing System
A plan is under development and will be complete by March 2008. This will include all aspects of the system: monitoring detection, confirmation, tracking, forecasting, data management, production and dissemination of information (advisories, warnings, closures, etc.), and outreach. Costs are not available now, but will be part of the GCOOS design.

Figure 3.2.  Map of Louisiana Shelf showing coastline, bathymetry (10, 20, 30, 40, 50 m), existing real-time
mooring stations (red—LUMCON; green—TAMU; yellow—TABS) locations and proposed new locations (blue).

Monitoring of effects of Mississippi-Atchafalaya River discharge on the Gulf
This is of very high priority because these rivers exert a (perhaps the) major impact on Gulf ecosystems. Many of the needed pieces are included in this strategic design, but a complete design will require additional time and effort. Sought is the ability to track outflow, spreading, stratification, and effects of river water and constituents. This likely will include:

  • Major densification of present levels of measurements, both spatially and temporally.
  • Additional biogeochemical measurements
  • A concerted modeling effort
  • Better integration of all data sets
  • Development of new products

3.1.2 Data Management

GCOOS data management activities can be divided into two broad areas. The first is a "maintenance" activity which includes all of those elements usually associated with facilitating data use in an established operational data collection system, whether digital, interoperable or otherwise. These activities include: QA/QC, catalog and metadata, ingest and dissemination, storage and archive, and user/provider help desk services. The second activity is managing "change" required to ensure machine-to-machine interoperability within an as-yet unspecified System of Systems framework in an evolving IT landscape.

For the next decade, we envision the GCOOS data management activity will exist as a regional aggregation node in a global System-of-Systems. We will undertake traditional data management activities to ensure valid data and products are produced and guard against data loss. We will work with regional providers to standardize their data delivery systems and with regional and national efforts to deploy and test interoperable software implementations. Guidance on the interoperable framework now flows to us from the U.S. IOOS DMAC Committee and grass-roots community activities; this may change in the future.

In funded and pending proposals we envision staffing a central data management facility with paid collaborative efforts at the major data provider nodes in the region over a four year period. The work will involve establishing a data portal which incorporates the interoperable elements, a centralized data management activity to handle the traditional data management activities, and an effort that builds toward a regional Operations Center to monitor and report on the availability of data for time sensitive uses. We propose here to advance the regional Operations Center from pre-operational (customary business hours) to operational (24hr 365 days per year). We envision locating that Operations Center, together with the data portal, at an industry or government location.

Local Data Nodes are partners in this process and costs must be included to support programming efforts at their sites to implement interoperable software systems locally. Costs for hardware technology refresh and upgrades are included.

3.1.3 Modeling/analysis/product development

Operation of a 3-D circulation model for the Gulf of Mexico
We have prepared and submitted a proposal to support the initial stages of this effort through a pilot project. The primary goal of the pilot is to determine whether a 3-D current model can supply forecasts, nowcasts, and hindcasts of currents and hydrography with sufficient accuracy to be useful to a sizeable constituency around the Gulf of Mexico. Secondary goals include laying the foundation for a permanent operational forecast model in the Gulf, better identifying and meeting the needs of the various beneficiaries, increasing our understanding of Gulf of Mexico oceanography, and advancing modeling technology.

The next stage in the development of this subsystem will be to establish a Gulf of Mexico Forecast Center (GMFC). This will begin with setting in place an operational circulation model. That model will assimilate and interpolate the measurement streams from the GCOOS observing system. We will then begin wave and storm surge forecast model testing and testing of an ecosystem forecast model. When testing and evaluation is complete, operational wave forecast and storm surge models will be added to the GMFC. Then we will begin testing of a sediment transport model. Within seven years we hope to have operational ecosystem and sediment transport models within the Center.

This capability will enable the development and subsequent delivery to stakeholders of a wide variety of model output and model derived products.

Integrated Production of Satellite Data Products
Various laboratories prepare products for the Gulf using data remotely sensed from satellites. These include, but are not limited to: University of South Florida, Louisiana State University, University of Colorado, University of Texas, The Johns Hopkins University, University of Miami, NOAA, and Navy, as well as private firms. The GCOOS-RA is encouraging these laboratories to jointly plan for the production of integrated satellite data products for the Gulf. We believe such cooperation would clarify which laboratories have responsibilities for which products. This should reduce redundancy, result in more and better products for stakeholders, and improve delivery of those products. It seems likely that financial incentives will be needed to bring about such cooperation. At this time we have no good estimates of the costs.

3.1.4 Education and Outreach

Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) Education and Outreach Council (EOC) has developed a Strategic Plan to guide education and outreach activities within the GCOOS-RA. The plan builds upon the GCOOS Mission to develop a self-sustaining, collaborative, real-time ocean observation system for the Gulf of Mexico region. The EOC Vision is for all residents within the Gulf of Mexico region to be aware of and effectively use GCOOS products and services when making decisions concerning their work and life in ocean and coastal waters, estuaries, and their watersheds. The EOC Mission is to provide guidance and assistance to GCOOS in the development of education, outreach, public awareness, and understanding of programs and materials that are applicable to residents of the Gulf of Mexico region. There are five goals associated with the EOC Strategic Plan.

The first goal toward achieving this vision and mission is to establish a GCOOS education and outreach network within the Gulf of Mexico region. This includes establishment of a sustained central education and outreach (E/O) office. Diversity and inclusiveness in the EOC membership will be pursued actively. Collaboration, coordination, and communication efforts within the broader Gulf of Mexico E/O communities will be enhanced by increasing and maintaining effective partnerships that reach diverse audiences. We will enhance the GCOOS E/O community by supporting and developing professional development programs and practices of formal and informal educators. Key messages will be developed and reinforced in the daily work of GCOOS EOC members.

The second goal is to communicate within GCOOS to ensure all committees’ efforts guide education and outreach efforts and all GCOOS partners deliver a consistent message. This will include facilitation of two-way communication between data providers and users to maximize relevancy and usefulness of products. The EOC will collaborate with appropriate committees to create relevant products and materials.

The third goal is to work toward the use and application of GCOOS observations, products, and services throughout the region. To this end we will develop GCOOS E/O relevant programs and materials for diverse stakeholder audiences (such as the general public, formal and informal educators, coastal decision makers and resource managers). We will increase the awareness and understanding of GCOOS products and services by various audiences. We will target E/O efforts at a diversity of stakeholder groups.

The fourth goal is to encourage and enhance workforce development in the ocean observing system field. We will ensure K-16 teachers are aware of GCOOS as a platform for teaching and learning science, mathematics, and technology as well as an opportunity for a professional or vocational career. We will work to increase knowledge and skills of students in the K-16 community who will improve ocean, coastal, and science literacy through their use of GCOOS products, services, projects, and activities.

The fifth goal is to evaluate effectiveness and accountability of outreach and education activities. This involves establishing a baseline to gauge future success. We will identify and implement mechanisms that can be used to measure effects of specific education and outreach activities (e.g., pre/post tests, website hits, feedback form/email, questionnaires, needs assessment instruments, Likert-scale evaluations, and other related evaluation tools).

3.1.5 Governance—the Regional Association

A critical component of any of the regional coastal ocean observing systems is governance. For GCOOS governance is through its Regional Association (GCOOS-RA). A brief summary of the development of this RA is embodied in the following bullets:

  • GCOOS Resolution & Mission Statement adopted in January 2003
  • Formal Memorandum of Agreement establishing Regional Association for governance signed in January 2005; currently 74 signatories
  • Member of the National Federation of Regional Associations (NFRA)
  • Operational structure complete as of April 2006
  • Development of formal process for soliciting and developing proposals in January 2007

Key functions carried out by the RA include the following:

  • Identification and refinement of stakeholder priorities through workshops, meetings, and the web
  • Maintenance of observing system plan, data management plan, and business plan
  • Integration of subsystems
  • Development and maintenance of a regional Operations Center providing stakeholders broad access to data, metadata, and products
  • Follow-through on Action Plans for all committees and councils of the RA
  • Liaison with other U.S. RCOOSs and observing systems within Mexico
  • Participation in the National Federation of Regional Associations
  • Implementation of a communication strategy including maintenance of a web site for general information and news

A very important function of the GCOOS-RA is to support outreachand education regarding GCOOS. This has been discussed in Section 2.

3.2   Subsystem Interdependencies

It would not be productive to attempt to summarize all interdependencies among the GCOOS subsystems. Here we note key dependencies between and among those subsystems. Needed first and foremost are IOOS DMAC standards and protocols and the regional Operations Center with data portal because this these will enable both product providers and users (final stakeholders) to seamlessly discover and retrieve data and products. In this manner, recipients of data and products will have access to information regarding those data and products that is needed for their correct usage.

Together the four subsystems focused on monitoring the state of the ocean surface (HF Radar observing system, sea level observing system, surface meteorological platforms, and integrated production of satellite data products) together with other federal sea level measurements and the data obtained from the platforms and buoys maintained by the NDBC should be viewed as an integrated measurement system. Together they will yield greatly improved knowledge of surface Gulf of Mexico over the U.S. continental shelf. Moreover, the information provided by this real time monitoring can be used to improve models of the Gulf of Mexico Forecast Center, where they will be used both in model testing and in model assimilation.

The GMFC will be dependent on many other data sets for these same uses. Some of those data sets are already being collected within GCOOS (e.g., through-the-water-column current measurements made by the petroleum industry and reported through the NDBC); other needed data sets will be added in the future as plans of this Regional Association mature.

3.3   Needed Federal Backbone Enhancements

These are not described in detail nor are cost estimates provided in this document. However, they clearly are needed to meet requirements of stakeholders using observations and information from the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System.

Continue and expand satellite remotely-sensed observations and their products
Along with the entire Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) endeavor, continuation and expansion of the satellite remote sensing programs is a high priority for GCOOS. This is particularly so of developments that will lead to both better processing algorithms and spatial/temporal sampling in the coastal regime.

Monitor river discharge and nutrient loading
Improve and enhance monitoring of water quality in watersheds, estuaries, and coastal to shelf waters, as well as fluxes between these entities. As recommended in the USCOP report, the Council on Environmental Quality is proposing a federal water quality initiative involving EPA, NOAA, and the USGS. The GCOOS-RA would like to see a demonstration project in the Mississippi River watershed and the Gulf of Mexico focused on nutrient enrichment issues, such as hypoxia. Along these lines, GCOOS recommends:

  • Monitor discharge of all significant U.S. rivers emptying into the Gulf of Mexico
  • Monitor nutrients and other ecosystem ndicators in major rivers

Among the major rivers for the region are the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers and the Sabine, Brazos, Trinity, San Jacinto, Alabama, Tombigbee, Apalachicola, Pearl, and Pascagoula rivers. This information is needed to by managers dealing with hypoxia, harmful algal blooms, environmental quality, fisheries, and inundation/storm surge flood management.

Implement additional Physical Oceanographic Real-Time Systems (PORTS)
Enhancing safe and efficient marine transportation is a very high priority for the nation. A thrust to "modernize heights and implement real-time water level and current observing systems in all major commercial ports" is one of five priority actions recommended to NOAA by the Hydrographic Services Review Panel. These actions are judged necessary to maintain and improve the U.S. Marine Transportation System. In the Gulf we have for some time had PORTS in Tampa Bay and the Houston/Galveston ship channel. Now there is significant growth of NOAA PORTS Systems along the northern Gulf. Observing systems are being installed and starting operation to serve the port and navigation community as well as local coastal communities and states at Mobile, Pascagoula, Gulfport, the lower Mississippi River, Lake Charles (including the Calcasieu ship channel), and the Sabine Neches region. At this time there are no plans for nowcast/forecast systems for these new PORTS areas; they are highly recommended.

In addition to these systems, four large single pile systems are being fabricated now for installation at Calcasieu Pass, Atchafalaya Bay (Delta), Shell Beach (St. Bernard Parish and the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (MRGO)), and Bay Waveland (Mississippi). These stations are designed to withstand severe storm conditions and surge heights in order to maintain constant operations. These systems are scheduled to be in operation before the start of the 2008 hurricane season.

Each installation is planned with local participation and support and the active involvement of a local sponsor.

Support the National Coastal Data Distribution System
The NCDDC, a part of NOAA’s National Ocean Data Center, is becoming a major player in the GCOOS. They are the principal distribution center for harmful algal bloom data via the HABSOS project. They are working with Gulf observing system entities to implement the IOOS DMAC standards and protocols. They have the mandate to facilitate discovery and exchange of coastal data. They are heavily involved in the developing Integrated Ecosystem Assessment. These activities require additional support for NCDDC.

Support for the National Data Buoy Center
The NDBC is responsible for a large suite of buoys and platforms in the Gulf. Though these stations primarily provide meteorological information in real time, they also are increasingly being used to obtain data on surface waves, surface currents, and surface salinity and temperature. Other measurements may be added as plans for additional observing sub-systems develop, e.g., optical properties, nutrients, harmful algal blooms, or carbon. Recommended enhancement of NDBC buoy and C-MAN networks include:

  • Add wave directionality to wave height—useful for rip current forecasting and sediment transport estimation
  • Add visibility measurements—needed near the Mississippi River and other areas for biological productivity estimation and for river-ocean connection
  • Add acoustic Doppler current profilers—constraints for models and for HF radar network
  • Add ecosystem measurements, as feasible
  • Add water level measurements
  • Increase the number of stations in these networks by a factor of five, including additional meteorological stations in
    the near coastal zone for use in forecasting surface currents as well as to improve regional models

In addition, the NDBC receives, quality controls, and distributes (including short-term archival) a very large number of real time data from sources other than the center. In the case of GCOOS, the NDBC is the principal collection and distribution point for our real time data.

Both of these efforts require additional support for the NDBC.

Integrate water level network for Gulf of Mexico

  • Adjust all water level measurements to a common set of datums
  • Analyze all extant water level records for regional trends and assess new requirements


Table 4.1 shows rough costs for subsystems for which we have available estimates. These are subject to change.

  2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Totals
Hypoxia Monitoring Moorings   1,225 1,675 1,875 1,325 1,325 1,325 1,325 1,325 1,325 12,725
Hypoxia Monitoring Surveys   1,440 1,440 1,440 1,440 1,440 1,440 1,440 1,440 1,440 12.960
Hypoxia Monitoring Gliders   250 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 1,050
HF Radar Observing System for Surface Currents & Waves   1,270 1,270 2,665 3,365 3,745 4,345 5,165 3,820 3,820 29,465
Complete DMAC Development including Data Portal, Operations Center, & IOOS Standards/Protocols at all Data Nodes 800 1,060 1,200 1,315 1,427 1,509 1,584 1,663 1,746 1,834 14,148
Operation of a 3-D circulation model 450 400 800 2,000 3,000 3,100 2,500 2,500 2,500 2,500 19,750

Water Level Observing System

  3,386 3,546 3,706 3,866 4,026 1,296 1,421 1,296 1,421 23,964
System of Autonomous Meteorological Monitoring
  600 515 982 579 608 639 671 704 739 6,037
Sentinel Monitoring Buoy through Pre-Op Stage   1,700 1,700 1,700 1,000 1,000         7,100
Regional Association Support 400 400 400 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 4,700
Totals ($K) 1,650 11,730 12,646 16,283 16,612 17,353 13,729 14,785 13,421 13,679 131,899

Appendix A: GCOOS Workshops and Meetings

Workshop and meeting reports are available on the GCOOS web site.


The Gulf of Mexico Regional Workshop on an Integrated Data System for Oceanography was held 31 October-2 November 2000 at Stennis Space Center, MS.

The NVODS Workshop for Managers of Coastal Observing System Activities in the Gulf of Mexico was held 14-15 January 2003 at Stennis Space Center, MS.

A Workshop to Explore Private Sector Interests and Roles in the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System; Focus on the Southeastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico, was held 2-4 March 2004 at Marathon Oil Company in Houston, TX.

The HABSOS-GCOOS Workshop was held 13-15 April 2004 in St. Petersburg, FL.

The Next Steps in the Gulf of Mexico meeting was held 7-8 July 2004 in College Station, TX.

The GCOOS and the Private Sector: Oil and Gas and Related Industry Workshop was held 2-4 November 2005 in Houston, TX. The objectives, foci, meeting report, and steering committee are available.

The GCOOS-SECOORA-NOAA CSC Storm Surge & Inundation Workshop was held January 24-26, 2007 in New Orleans, LA.


The GCOOS Education and Outreach Council Formation Meeting was held 29-30 November 2004 at the J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium in Biloxi, MS.

The Initial GCOOS Stakeholder Meeting was held 24-25 January 2005 at the Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research in New Orleans, LA

The GCOOS-RA Board of Directors held their first meeting 25-26 August 2005 in Houston, TX.

The GCOOS Stakeholder Council met January 10-11, 2006 in Mobile, AL.

The GCOOS Parties’ met January 11, 2006 in Mobile, AL.

The second meeting of the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors was held 12 January 2006 in Mobile, AL.

The GCOOS Education and Outreach Council met April 24-25, 2006, in Ocean Springs, MS.

The GCOOS Observing Systems Committee, the Products and Services Committee, and Data Management and Communications Committee met April 26-27, 2006, in Ocean Springs, MS.

Worth Nowlin, Alfredo Prelat, Raymond Toll, and Jan van Smirren visited Mexico 26-30 June 2006 to meet with Mexican counterparts interested in developing GOOS.

The third meeting of the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors was held 24-25 August 2006 in St. Petersburg, FL.

The Stakeholder Council, Parties’ and Board of Directors met in New Orleans, LA, on March 6-7, 2007.

The GCOOS Education and Outreach Council met June 18, 2007 in Spanish Fort, AL.

The fifth meeting of the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors was held 5-6 September 2007 in Houston, TX.

The GCOOS Observing Systems Committee, the Products and Services Committee, and Data Management and Communications Committee met November 27-29, 2007 in New Orleans, LA.

Appendix B: Priority Tables

Oil and Gas and Related Industry Priorities

Table B1. Priority Products for Oil and Gas Sector (H=high, M=medium, L=low priority)

Products Length/time scales Key Components/Measurements Priority

Hurricane severity forecasts

Accuracy of 20% CPI at 5 days

Models, Upper-level circulation, BL, ocean mixed-layer temp., offshore Doppler radar


Surface current forecast maps

0-15 days,10 km horiz. D/W, 1 km shelf

Models, wind, HF radar, density profiles, SST, river inflow, air-sea flux, bathymetry, front locations, tomography


Measurement & product archive

N. A.

List of all ongoing measurements, periodically updated. Archive of data collected after initiation of GCOOS


Operational maps of SST Existing. Higher resolution TRMM AVHRR, GOES, TRMM H
Forecast maps of 3-D deepwater currents 0-30 days10 km horiz, 50 m vert. Models, density profiles, SSH, SST, winds, air-sea flux, ADCP, Caribbean current inflow H
Forecast maps of winds and waves (& crests) 0-15 days,10 km horiz. D/W, 2 km shelf BL, offshore surface met. (V, T, P, H) sensors, atmospheric profiles, QuikSat, TRMM, Doppler Radar, currents (for waves). Store waves at 2Hz H
3-D curent forrecasts on shelf 0-10 days,1 km horiz,2 m vert. Modeling, density profiles, SST, Winds, river inflow, air-sea flux, bathymetry (in some small areas),
Probability maps of bottom hazards   Turbidity current measurements & modeling, hydrate locations, soil type, bottom currents, high-resolution
bathymetry, waves
Marine mammal & turtle maps Monthly Physical sightings, tagging, currents (as a proxy) M
Legacy measurement & product archive N. A. Inventory and archive of QA/QC’d data M
Improved storm surge probability maps (not real-time)

0.5 km horiz.

High resolution model, hi resolution bathymetry & ref. water level, wind stress, bottom roughness, atm. pressure


Severe weather monitoring   Offshore Doppler radar, lightning strikes M
Maps of water quality (DO, PH, etc.)   DO, PH, Nutrients, Hydrocarbons, salinity, temperature, river inputs, models, currents, winds, hyperspectral (satellite) M
Maps of hydrocarbon seeps     L
Maps of chemosynthetic & arch. sites     L
Maps of SSH, Color Imagery     L
Bathymetry, topography, soil maps     L
Temperature/Salinity profiles     L

Table B2. Priority Measurements for Oil and Gas Sector (H=high, M=medium, L=low priority)

Measurement Rationale/Comments ResponsibleParty Priority
Hurricane severity model improvement Two factors control damage: severity and proximity. The latter have improved substantially but the former has not. National Hurricane Center (NHC) H
Operational satellite altimeters, near real-time An essential input into most deepwater current models. Several altimeters must be kept operational indefinitely. NOAA H
Operational satellite radiometers, near real-time An essential input into current models and other analysis tools. Would like to see resolution of TRMM improved. NOAA H
Operational satellite wind (QuikSat), near real-time An essential input into current, wind, and wave models and other valuable analyzed products. NOAA H
2 Hz wave data, not real-time Measure for possible rogue waves during storm events NDBC H
Measurements to improve hurricane severity forecasting, real-time GCOOS needs to dialogue with NHC to determine best ways to contribute, e.g. humidity sensors and/or Doppler radars installed on offshore platforms? NHC, GCOOS H
Offshore meteorology measurements (V, P, T, H), real-time Needed for current model, improvement in wind forecasts, etc. GCOOS H
Upper-column current & temperature/salinity profiles, real-time Needed for current model assimilation and validation, and to provide direct measurements. Present network is sparse in the west and east. GCOOS H
3-D Ocean current model forecasts, real-time Needed for offshore operations & environmental issues (hypoxia, oil spills, etc.) GCOOS H
Marine mammals and sea turtle sightings, not real-time To avoid environmental damage due to necessary oil-related activity, i.e. seismic surveys GCOOS, MMS, NMFS, Industry H
High resolution coastal bathymetry, topography, & subsidence rates Input for current and wave models and for subsidence, mud slides. Should include long term sea level measurements NOS, USGS, GCOOS H
Turbidity current, not real-time Unclear how you would measure. Pilot project? MMS, GCOOS H-
Water quality parameters (DO, PH, nutrients, COD, etc.) High priority in specific coastal regions & for riverine inflow. EPA, USGS, MMS, NOAA, DOA, DOE, Industry, GCOOS


Offshore HF radar, real-time Provide real-time surface current maps for model assimilation, Loop current tracking, oil spill tracking, etc. GCOOS


Caribbean inflow (Yucatán or Florida Straits), real-time Key input into current model.  Also provides long-term record of interest to climatologist.  Pilot
project for tomography??
Identification of hydrocarbon seeps Could be derived from several different methods including targeted AUV surveys, SAR, etc? MMS, GCOOS M
Identification of chemosynthetic & arch. sites   MMS, GCOOS L

Storm Surge and Inundation Workshop Priorities

Table B3. Prioritized products/measurements to enhance resilience to innundation.

Priority Product/Measurement
1 Accurate bathymetry and topography with consistent
vertical control between various data sets.
2 Data on sea level, winds, waves, etc. for use in forecast models, nowcast analyses, and forensic reports. Hardened data collection and communications.
3 Improved forecasts of inundation. Ensemble forecasts are needed. These should include heights of surge, tides, wave set up, precipitation, and river flow, as well as waves.
4 Improved inundation maps for hazard mitigation planning. This requires updated probabilistic methods, improved models, use of forensic data, and improved, easy access to archived data.
5 Inreach communication among emergency managers, community planners and others to develop and present consistent messages, to build expertise, and to develop a sense of "community".
6 A clearing house for pre- and post-storm information. This might have both a public access and an access only for operational users. It should include both pre-storm data (e.g., areal photos) and post-storm information for use by teams during rescue and adjustors.
7 Forensic engineering studies to access wind and flood inundation damage
Others (not ranked)
• Augmented Safir-Simpson scale for hurricanes with addititonal information
• Improved public outreach
• A clear process for moving storm surge models from research to operational status

Table B4. Pilot projects to enhance resilience to inundation.

Priority Pilot Projects
1 Benefit-cost analysis to determine value of having current 24-hour-quality forecase at 48 hrs. Use data from various past events (Floyd, Rita, Georges, Katrina).
2 Compile/develop standardized methods to measure surge elevations. Include gages, other sensors, HWMs. Utilize best practices that are out there.
3 Work with EM community to develop sample inundation forecast products for decision-making at various time steps (96/72/48/24 hr). Products should give easily digestible info, and not overwhelm individual with too many separate maps for each step.
4 Develop prototype of surge event clearinghouse. Needs assessment to get components/players. Must include min. standards/QC for data (avoid “landfill” syndrome). Can include key staff/ capabilities wanted for EOC (e.g., Science Coord., GIS expertise).
5 Sensitivity runs of storm surge models to help determine required horizontal and vertical resolutions of bathymetry.

Preliminary HABs Priorities

Table B5. Recommended actions* for monitoring and forecasting harmful algal blooms. New priorities are being developed as the HABs Observing System Plan is prepared.

Functional Category Description Status
Harmful Algal Blooms Observing System (HABSOS) Internet-based data communications and management system for accessing and disseminating data and information for HAB management. Pilot project for FL and TX progressing
NOAA HAB Bulletin For state managers to address the need for quick delivery of concise information on the location, intensity, and expected development and movement of blooms of Karenia brevis Operational
Ocean observations HAB monitoring can be improved by the incorporation of sentinel stations and of observing stations placed in strategic HAB areas and instrumented with additional detection sensors, and development of a plan for these stations is a high priority.  The HAB community will also benefit from the contribution of additional observing stations to improve coastal ocean forecasts, the foundations for HAB forecasts. HABs Observing System Plan is under development; Version 1 is expected in early 2008.
Models A coordinated effort to identify the model or model output that is needed and to address which models can be used in real time, near real time, or as forecasts is a high priority for developing an HAB forecast capability. No coordinated effort underway.
Standards and protocols The establishment of standards and protocols for data collection procedures and for routine monitoring will facilitate data exchange and research across the U.S. and Mexican states.  
Research and development Improvements to detection technologies to make HAB detection faster and simpler in the field is a high priority. R&D is underway to a limited extent; more is needed.

*based on the information at and

Preliminary Transportation Priorities

Table B6. Preliminary Priority Actions for Marine Transportatiton Sector

The five priority actions below have been recommended to NOAA by the Hydrographic Services Review Panel as necessary to maintain and improve a competitive U.S. Marine Transportation System. These are from the priorities for hydrographic services improvements recommended in the Federal Advisory Committee Special Report 2007 prepared by the Hydrographic Services Review Panel. Additional GCOOS-specific priorities will be developed at a 2008 workshop.

  1. Aggressively map the nation’s shorelines and navigationally significant waters
  2. Integrate coastal mapping efforts and ensure federally mandated channels, approaches, and anchorages are surveyed to the highest standard
  3. Modernize heights and implement real-time water level and current observing systems in all major commercial ports
  4. Strengthen NOAA’s navigational services emergency response and recovery capabilities
  5. Disseminate NOAA’s hydrographic services data and products to achieve greatest public benefit

Preliminary Search and Rescue Priorities

Table B7. Primary (P) and Secondary (S) meteorological and oceanographic data needed for planning SAR operations.

Taken from “Environmental Data Needs for U.S. Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System” by Arthur A. Allen of the USCG.

B7.A Meteorological & Oceanographic Parameters Needed for Planning Maritime Searches

SAR Steps Environmental Parameters
  Winds Currents SST AST Waves Visibility Cloud cover Icing
Pre-Incident Voyage         P     P
Drift Trajectories P P     S      
Search Effort Allocation S       S P S  
Search Operations P   S S P P   P
Account for Previous Searches S       S P S  
Stopping the Case S   P P S      

B7.B Anticipated NOAA Products that might be added to the U.S. Coast Guard Environmental Data Server in 2008 and 2009.

Agency Product Winds Currents Other
NOS PORTS   Chesapeake, St John River, Galveston, NY Harbor  
NCEP NDFD CONUS coastal    
NCEP NAM Alaska HF radar – Mid Atlantic  
NCEP NAM     Air Temp, Visibility
NCEP RTOFS     SST, Wave Height

B7.C Anticipated NOAA Products to be Needed by the U.S. Coast Guard Environmental Data Server by 2010-2014

Agency Product Winds Currents Other
NOS PORTS or Regional Models   San Francisco
Columbia River
Boston Harbor
Lake Champlain
Lake St. Clair / Detroit River
Delaware Bay
Long Island Sound
Puget Sound / Seattle
Prince William Sound
Cook Inlet
SE Alaska fjords / channels
NCEP RTOFS   Pacific Dispersion / diffusion / uncertainty
NCEP High Res Alaska    
      HF radar – CONUS & Hawaii  
NCEP NAM     Parameters for EO/IO sensors
NCEP WAM     Wave Spectrum

Initial Pilot Projects

Table B8. Initial pilot projects selected for developing prospecti and identification of funding

  1. Pilot GCOOS Operationa Center with a data portal as the start for the Operations Center
  2. Forecasts of three-dimensional surface currents for the Gulf of Mexico
  3. Improving forecasts of hurricane severity
  4. Water quality measurements for human pathogens linked into a GOM-wide beach health indicator map
  5. Instrument regularly scheduled tanker traffic with automated oceanography and meteorology monitoring systems
  6. Measurement and products archive for the deepwater Gulf of Mexico
  7. Develop probability maps of bottom hazards and maps of hydrocarbon seeps